I've been reading Henning Mankell's Wallander series since I picked up The Return of the Dancing Master at an airport. I like the dry, serious, battle...moreI've been reading Henning Mankell's Wallander series since I picked up The Return of the Dancing Master at an airport. I like the dry, serious, battle-scarred detective who is bewildered by an increasingly unfamiliar Sweden where bad things, really bad things, can happen. His uneasy personal relationships provide an interesting dimension to his personality. I particularly like the portrayal of his feelings about his father and his daughter - one turning back into a child, and the other growing into an independent adult.
Sidetracked starts dramatically with a girl setting herself on fire - an 'open-and-shut' suicide case that affects Wallander not because it is suspicious but because it happened in front of him and he can't understand why a young person would choose to inflict such pain on themselves. The gruesome murder of a retired senior minister around the same time has Wallander struggling to cope with the violence on display. Then the murder turns plural and things go rapidly south.
Wallander's weak behaviour and procrastination when it comes to telling his girlfriend Baiba about the potential collapse of their holiday plans was enjoyable and made him all the more human, someone it is possible to identify with.
While I found some details superfluous, most notably the psychologist Ekholm (he contributes nothing of interest), and some false notes in the story (possible spoilers so I'll keep mum), I did quite enjoy reading the book and will now look for the next in the series (am not following any strict order - first in first out!). (less)
I read this years ago and have since been in complete awe of Ghalib. Picked it up again while browsing my bookshelf a few days back, re-read some sect...moreI read this years ago and have since been in complete awe of Ghalib. Picked it up again while browsing my bookshelf a few days back, re-read some sections and was reminded once again just how beautifully this man wrote!
No one else, in my experience, has matched Ghalib's ability to put on paper emotions and feelings in such a heart-wrenchingly beautiful manner. Those who can read Urdu script should, if they haven't already read Ghalib, make their way to him quickly and read slowly, savouring the genius behind the words. Understanding spoken Urdu is the next best thing (this is the category I fall into) and if you don't, it is worth learning the language just to have Ghalib speak to you in his own words!
Ghalib on himself (in Devnagri script below) is perhaps the best way to sum up this extraordinary poet: हैं और भी दुनिया में सुख़नवर बोहोत अच्छे कहते हैं के ग़ालिब का है अंदाज़-ए-बयाँ और (less)
'Hope is the thing with feathers...' - Emily Dickinson
'Without Feathers' was the first Woody Allen book I read. A random pick from the college library...more'Hope is the thing with feathers...' - Emily Dickinson
'Without Feathers' was the first Woody Allen book I read. A random pick from the college library, I remember reading through the first page in growing amazement - was I reading wrong or did this stuff not make any sense? Well, I was reading right!
The book opens with excerpts from Allen's diary, to be published posthumously or after his death, whichever comes first:
Getting through the night is becoming harder and harder. Last evening I had the uneasy feeling that some men were trying to break into my room to shampoo me.
I laughed hard through most of the book (a couple of passages did drag on for me) - one of the funniest I have read!
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
Pick this book up if you are not worried about the strange looks you will get from strangers as you break out into hysterical laughter!
How wrong Emily Dickinson was! Hope is not "the thing with feathers." The thing with feathers has turned out to be my nephew. I must take him to a specialist in Zurich.
Dr. Liebermann and Inspector Rheinhardt team up for the fourth time to rid Vienna of a murderer whose modus operandi suggests superhuman strength, and...moreDr. Liebermann and Inspector Rheinhardt team up for the fourth time to rid Vienna of a murderer whose modus operandi suggests superhuman strength, and whose targets imply a racial motivation at a time where Jews are increasingly being targeted as undesirables by Viennese politicians and religious leaders. Sprinkle in Dr. Liebermann's confused romantic leanings towards a past patient, a racially motivated attack on his professional conduct, a wealthy banker with too much money (how times have changed!), Freud, a couple of society ladies bent on charity, some talented young Jewish gentlemen, strong Rabbis with stronger views, ambitious and crooked politicians, some sub-conscious directed piano and song routines and a regular helping of Viennese cafe food.
Should have been a fun ride but didn't deliver for me. There are many sub-plots and too many well developed characters who seem to be left hanging at the end - groping around for closure. There are some excellent, well written sections that transport you into old Vienna with its sights, smells and prejudices. There are equally interesting segues into some psychological concepts.
The rest of the story lacked grip in my opinion and I found the ending a bit hurried as if the author realised that the story was running slightly out of control and needed to be gathered and boxed very quickly! In spite of some redeeming features, I didn't enjoy 'Darkness Rising' much. (less)
An ordinary family living in Florence against the backdrop of the second world war gets involved with the partisan movement...the choices they make ch...moreAn ordinary family living in Florence against the backdrop of the second world war gets involved with the partisan movement...the choices they make change their lives forever and create the circumstances leading to murder many years later.
Really well written, this book has believable and human characters, a moving account of how 'ordinary people do extraordinary things', an elegant investigator and very skilful interplay between the past and the present... sad, beautiful, complex and exciting - I really enjoyed this book!(less)
I have to say I liked Sansom's Shardlake series more than I liked this book. That said, this is a good read. Well rounded and believable characters, a...moreI have to say I liked Sansom's Shardlake series more than I liked this book. That said, this is a good read. Well rounded and believable characters, a strong plot-line and detailed background portrayals make this an engrossing book.(less)